Sustainable Development Success Stories

Society for the Protection of Prespa

Location  Prespa, Greece.
Responsible Organisation

Greek NGOs: The Goulandris Natural History Museum and its affiliate in Thessalonike, The Greek Wetland-Biotope Centre, The Hellenic Ornithological Society, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, the Hellenic Society for the Preservation of Culture and Nature (Elliniki Etairia), Arcturos, and WWF Greece.

International conservation organisations: The International Societies are the Danish Ornithological Society, Tour du Valat in France, and RSPB in the UK, WWF, and the European Commission (EC).


Prespa is a national park and an important centre of biodiversity for both plants and birds. Most of the local inhabitants are farmers who employ conventional agricultural methods and a monoculture cultivation of beans. This type of cultivation threatens the meadow habitats for breeding birds and the water quality of the lakes from runoff of agricultural chemicals. Three international conservation organisations and six Green NGOs formed the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP).

Associated activities were developed through many projects including a EU programme jointly funded by the WWF and the European Commission, called CADISPA (Conservation and Development in Sparsely Populated Areas). Their activities include the support of organic farming, the marketing of local products such as woollen socks, herbs, dried beans and preserves that are sold in information centres. Conservation activities are conducted in the area include wardening pelican colonies and providing information to farmers, fishers and other local people.

Issues Addressed Sustainable ecotourism.
Results Achieved
  • Establishment of an information visitor centre - the first in a Greek National Park.

  • Establishment of guided tours as well as an environmental education programme for schools.

  • Creation of a second information centre focusing on traditional fishing practices and on the rich varieties of fish present in the lakes. The two visitor centres are run by expert ecoguides who are young persons from the local community trained in environmental management, interpretation and ecotourism.

Lessons Learned Local people have taken an interest in the protection and development of the area in a sustainable manner.

Dr. Georgia Valaoras
E-mail valaoras@hol.gr